About the PolarWatch Program

NOAA PolarWatch

PolarWatch extends the CoastWatch program by providing high-latitude satellite observation data to governmental, academic, commercial, and public users in support of broad applications in the Arctic and Southern Oceans.

PolarWatch was established in September 2017 to advance the priorities outlined in NOAA’s Arctic Action Plan by enabling data discovery, easy access, and broader usage of high-latitude satellite data products. It is hosted by NOAA Fisheries, in the Southwest Fisheries Science Center's Environmental Research Division.

NOAA CoastWatch Program


The mission of NOAA’s CoastWatch is to provide timely access to near real-time satellite data to monitor, restore, and manage U.S. coastal ocean resources.

User Community

Our users include Federal, State, and local coastal resource managers, marine scientists, educators and the general public. CoastWatch provides a wide range of satellite environmental data to support the work of coastal scientists and resource managers in all U.S. coastal waters.

Program Structure

NOAA CoastWatch is organized into a Central Operations office and Regional Nodes.

Central Operations

Central Operations, which is managed by NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS), coordinates the processing, delivery, quality control, and storage of data products.

Regional Nodes

Hosted at NOAA line offices located around the country, the distribution of the Regional Nodes allows for the development of satellite products and scientific expertise that are of regional importance.

Environmental Research Division

PolarWatch is hosted by NOAA Fisheries in the Southwest Fisheries Science Center Environmental Research Division (ERD). ERD provides innovative science-based analyses, products, and information on environmental variability to meet the research and management needs of the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and NOAA. The ERD conducts research on fishery-related effects of natural environmental variability over a broad range of scientific, management, and operational concerns of the government and the fishing industry. As a part of this work, the ERD develops and maintains an extensive database of environmental observations. The data activities of PolarWatch are fully integrated with the data services provided by the ERD.